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Liwonde to Zomba

We go to Zomba and are Poisoned by a Pork Pie, Malawi 18 January 1996
This follows on from From Mvuu Back to Liwonde. We drive on to Zomba, stay in a grand hotel, and are unimpressed.
On arrival back at Liwonde we find our borrowed pickup where we left it and we drive over lots of potholes, up the hill, to Zomba.
Into the market to look around. See men making buckets. Buy tomatoes, cucumbers, mangoes. Look at the stinking piles of dried fish. Women selling rice from a wicker pan. Toys made from scrap metal and plastic. A stall repairing and selling old shoes.
Zomba is a university town and there are youths in gowns – perhaps it is graduation day. Their shoes are obviously their pride and joy – trainers with the tongues pulled forward a la Brixton.
We buy bread in a supermarket – selling like hot cakes – freshly baked white bread, every loaf bought as soon as it is placed on the counter, but we buy the more expensive brown bread. And a Chelsea bun for Hilary, flavoured with cloves.
Then drive on up on a windy potholed narrow road, up and up past sawmill, forests, and the ever-present people walking, to Ku Chawe Inn.
We arrive at the same time as an African Wilderness Safari wagon which disgorges four Austrians. I talk with the Malawian driver as the Austrians go to check in. He has just driven them from the airport at Lilongwe – a four-hour ride at the end of their air trip, from wherever that was – they look pretty zonked-out. Tomorrow he will drive them to Mangochi. The driver says it took him longer than he would normally do from Lilongwe because he had to drive ‘safely’, he said with some evident distaste.
We look around the manicured gardens overlooking the valley, have a drink in the posh hotel bar, and eat a mediocre dinner in the restaurant surrounded by flunkies. We cannot resist one of the starters in this classy restaurant, which is described as ‘pork pie’. Our dinner consists of chambo covered in tomato and onion, and chicken in a nondescript sauce.
The Austrians are in the restaurant dressed in safari suits – khaki gear from Vienna’s best shops. We spend a fair amount of the night in the toilet.
The story continues with Zomba on the Plateau.


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